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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2023 – Day 6

by David Harding 27 Aug 2023 07:05 BST 20-25 August 2023

Fast fun on Frisky Friday

After racing was cancelled on Thursday because of no wind, Poole Week came to a riotous close on Friday. Plenty of breeze, together with sun and some good harbour waves, gave everyone a memorable day's sailing. The wind was consistently in the high 'teens, gusting to 24 knots, which tested the hiking muscles and resulted in some blistering downwind legs.

For some it was a little too much and a few boats stayed ashore. Plenty capsized but carried on to enjoy a sparkling day on - or occasionally in - the water.

Sadly in the case of Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts, who are always among the front-runners in the Flying Fifteens, a broken shroud meant they couldn't start the racing having got all the way to the Top Triangle. Richard Whitworth also had teething troubles with his new boat despite having scored three successive bullets, and was uncharacteristically buried in the fleet for both Friday's races. How things might have panned out had he been firing on all cylinders no one will know, but it had been tight at the top anyway. Jon Gorringe and Kelly Aaron entered the final day snapping at Whitworth's heels, with results that included a first and three seconds. A close 2nd in the first race on Friday and a 1st in the second was enough to give them overall victory over Whitworth by a single point. As Steve Tyler - Parkstone Yacht Club's sailing secretary - said at the prize-giving, here was a Merlin Rocket sailor (of some standing) having a go in a Flying Fifteen with his partner and winning Poole Week. In a seriously competitive fleet that includes sailors who have won the odd world championship and Olympic medal, that's not bad going.

Another fleet to see the results change on the final day was the RS200s. With only one point between Peter Loretto and Dave and Jan Pointer, it was all down to who made the fewest mistakes and spent the most time with their mast pointing skywards. That turned out to be the Pointers, who won both races to finish the week three points ahead.

In most of the other fleets, the leaders going into the final day stayed in the lead even if, like Pete Stacey in the Darts, they didn't win either of Friday's races. Other leaders won anyway, either making sure of their position or extending their lead. Steve and Ally Tyler had already won the fast handicap fleet in their Merlin Rocket but still went out and scored two more firsts. Alan Davis added two bullets to his score sheet to win the ILCA 7s by eight points from Chris Whalley, while Roger O'Gorman also won his two races in the ILCA 6s, giving him a seven-point margin over Roberta Hartley in second. John Tremlett crossed the line comfortably ahead in his last race in the XODs, finishing eight points clear of fellow Itchenor sailor Penny Fulford.

Another class to see a winner with a big margin was the Wayfarers. On Friday, Sean Murray gave his young sons the day off and sailed instead with his wife, Helen, again showing a clean pair of heels to the rest of the fleet, winning both races and finishing six points clear of Ian Sargeant and Kate Wyatt.

Elder statesman of the Dolphin fleet, Nigel Yeoman, elected not to sail on Friday having already secured victory. He ended the week tied on points with Richard Whing, winning by virtue of counting more 1st places. The Dolphins were undoubtedly the fleet with the highest turnout in relation to the total number of boats built. There are 14 Dolphins in the world and 10 of them raced in Poole Week.

As for the slow handicap fleet - well, like the Dolphins, it included highly experienced sailors with a pedigree. Nigel Pearce topped the table in his Fusion. In the Cornish Shrimpers it was David Lack's turn to lift the trophy.

That just leaves the big question: who won the Britannia Cup, for the top boat of the week? Not many people get to see their name on a trophy whose previous winners include King George V, but that particular honour goes to John Tremlett. Winning the 24-strong XOD fleet with a total of just 15 points (the calculation allows no discards) secured his victory. One boat in a smaller fleet had a lower total points score but, after the number-crunching, this year's winner of the XOD fleet in Cowes Week also won the Britannia Cup in Poole Week.

So it was a fabulous Friday all round to bring the 75th Poole Week to a close. A week that saw great sailing conditions, intensive yet friendly rivalry on the water, boats having a race within a race even if they were nowhere near the front, families sailing together, youngsters crewing for their parents, up to three generations of one family sailing with or competing against each other in the same fleet and, most importantly, everyone having a great time both afloat and ashore.

The race management by Bob Jennings on the Parkstone Platform and Fi Linford on the committee boat - with the assistance of their well-drilled teams - made everything as slick on the water as it could possibly be.

Back ashore, the daily prize-givings were a great success, thanks in no small part to the support of Rooster, Ovington Boats, Hartley Boats, Salcombe Gin and, to keep the beer flowing, Hall & Woodhouse. Headline sponsors, Bournemouth Digital, have confirmed their sponsorship for 2024, helping to ensure that planning can get under way for another week of sailing that, like this year's, will be remembered by everyone involved for a very long time.

Provisional results on www.pooleweek.org

Photos on www.SailingScenes.com

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